Monday, January 18, 2010

History of the Primary

In 1961 the Aurora Branch Primary presented “our beloved Branch President, Bro. James T. Greer” with a large scrapbook containing the history of the Primary in Aurora since 1932. It contains a wealth of history, names, stories, and photos, meticulously compiled by Marlene Kettley who was then serving as the Primary historian.
The Aurora Branch Primary children in 1951 with first counselor, Elinor Woolcott

This is the earliest photo in the scrapbook. I would like help identifying the children. Here are my best guesses: First row front, Ginger Erekson [Hamer], Julia Woolcott,[ boy looking down], Tom Erekson (blurred);
Second row: Elinor Woolcott, Ed Kettley (hidden), Jim Resch, John Resch, Mike Woolcott, Barry Woolcott.
Back row: [boy in baseball cap], Bill Kettley, Bob Kettley, [boy with something in mouth], Dick Kettley, Vera Resch.

Perhaps some clues to their identities can be found in the historical summary taken from the scrapbook. (I was surprised to see that I have at least three additional pertinent photos.):
“During the year 1951-52 the Aurora Branch Primary met at the home of Louise Erekson, 1515 Hoyt, Aurora, Illinois. The membership roll showed 23 children in attendance. Sr. Iris Dombrow served as President, Sr. Elinor Woolcott, 1st Counselor, and Sr. Louise Erekson as 2nd Counselor.

In this photo Iris Dombrow is standing in front of the Erekson home on Hoyt Street

“The classes consisted of Nursery, Beginners Group I & II, Zion’s Boys and Girls, Guides and the Larks which had a home study. Two women missionaries were assisting at this time. They were namely Sr. Ramona Ranzenberger and Sr. Norma J. Murri. Rosalee Resch served as acting Secretary until December 16, 1951, then Sr. Betty Jane Tatton served as Secretary.

Missionary photo of Sister Norma Jeane Murri, 902 N. Arthur, Pocatello, Idaho

“It was during this year that Sr. Iris Dombrow became the mother of a baby boy, “David Raymond Dombrow.” Little David was born in April 1951. Sr. Betty Tatton also became the mother of a baby girl, “Marta Lee Tatton,” born November 6, 1951. Betty Tatton and Marta Lee on Easter Sunday, 1952

“Sr. Nadia Grimmett, Sr. Page, and Sr. Woodbury later joined the group as missionaries. Sr. Rosalee Resch, Mable Stemple, Gladys Sullivan, Evelyn Kettlely and Betty Tatton were all helpers during this year. The program consisted of lessons, games, and the usual parties & programs. The Aurora Branch Primary won a certificate during this year from Chicago Stake for the Children’s Friend subscriptions.”

The Aurora Branch Primary history book remained with the Greer family until 1982 when Myrtle passed away. Her daughter, Louise Erekson, then kept it until 2009 when she gave it to me. At the appropriate time, I will donate it to the Church History Library and Archives.


  1. Hooray for early scrapbooking. I hope all these families find this blog. It would be so interesting for them to have this information too.

  2. I hope so too. It's amazing how much history is contained in these pages. Great photos too.